State: Rights Not Denied In Taxi Cab Case

Woman Alleged Discrimination Based On Disability

The Colorado Department of Civil Rights has issued ruling concerning a case where a woman claimed her service dog was forced to ride in trunk of a taxi cab.

According to the ruling "there is insufficient evidience to support the Charging Party's claim of denial of full and equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation based on disability. As such, a No Probable Cause determination is hearby issued."

"Union Taxi is also most pleased by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission dismissal of all of Ms. Brown’s charges after they made an in depth investigation of her allegations of discriminatory refusal of services,” said the company's attorney Ike Kaiser.

In addition, the ruling notes in one case when a driver refused to provide service, he was suspended and removed from tehe Access-A-Cab program.

Further, it notes a second cab was sent to transport Ms. Brown following the incident. However it was cancelled by Brown prior to pick up.

Efforts to contact Ms. Brown have been unsuccesful.

Judie Brown says her black lab named Alberto isn't just a best friend; he's been her lifeline for the past four years.

"If something happened to him. I would just die," said Brown.

In June 2011, Brown called a cab.

When she walked out front with Alberto, she claims the driver from Union Taxi initially refused to transport her with Alberto.

"He said, 'No dog in my cab,' " said Brown.

Brown said the driver told her he was allergic to dogs and would only drive her if Alberto went in the back of his cab.

"I asked him, 'Where in the back?' And he said, 'In the trunk,' " said Brown.

Late for an appointment, she reluctantly agreed.

"I never hear my dog whine or cry. Ever. Ever. I knew it was terribly wrong," said Brown.

Colorado law protects guide dogs and their owners, allowing them to ride together in taxis.

"A service dog is an appliance, similar to a wheelchair. Would you deny them a wheelchair?" said animal law expert Jay Swearingen.

But Judie is scarred and says she's been afraid to travel with Alberto ever since.

"I've lost my independence. And I do not like it. It makes me angry. And I want it back," said Brown.

The National Guide Dog Association says they get similar calls, three to 10 times per week.

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